Baseboard Heaters vs Forced Air: Pros and Cons

When it comes to maintaining indoor comfort, it’s important to invest in the right heating and cooling system. Among the top picks are baseboard heaters and forced air. You will find these installed in numerous residential properties across the country.

Many new homeowners wonder which is better – baseboard heaters vs forced air. Both have their pros and cons. For instance, folks will enjoy baseboard heaters if they desire consistent heating in a space. On the other hand, forced air systems win when it comes to heating your entire home.

Read below for an in-depth look at baseboard heaters vs forced air systems before you make your decision. 

What are baseboard heaters?

Baseboard heaters are just like the definition suggests, they are heaters installed on the baseboards of your home. Once you install baseboard heaters, they become a primary heat source during winter. You will need a thermostat to adjust them to your desired temperature.

There are two types of baseboard heaters that you can install: a hydronic baseboard heater, or an electric baseboard heater.

Electric baseboard heaters rely on electricity to heat your home, while a hydronic baseboard heater requires hot water. The HVAC technician who installs hydronic baseboard heaters will also set up a boiler system. The boiler will heat the water, then distribute it throughout the house via a pipe network.

Both hydronic and electric baseboard heaters allow even heating in your home. Many homeowners enjoy them, making them popular for residential heating.

What are forced air systems?

Another way to keep your home nice and warm all winter is by installing a forced air system. This is a heating system that requires hot air to heat your home. Forced air systems heat the air and force it through ductwork and air vents to warm the house.

A forced air system can run all winter, provided you keep up with the proper maintenance. Also, you must change the air filter once a month or more to ensure it’s pumping clean air through your home.

Comparing baseboard heaters vs forced air systems can be helpful when you want to install one in your home. So, now that you have a better understanding of baseboard heaters vs forced air systems, let’s compare the pros and cons of each.

Baseboard heaters vs forced air pros

We will address the pros of both systems below, and the cons in the following section. 

Baseboard heaters pros

1. Less noise

If you’re concerned about a noisy HVAC unit, baseboard heaters may be the way to go. Having to endure a noisy heating system all winter can get annoying, especially if you work at home and need a quiet environment. This can get especially worse when it’s time to turn in for the night. 

When you purchase and install a baseboard heater, you won’t have to worry about this. They make little noise and won’t disrupt your peace.

2. Longer lifespan

This is especially true when you install an electric baseboard heater in your home. These systems rarely break down, provided you do an annual tune-up and regular maintenance. With proper care, baseboard heaters can last over 20 years. 

3. No ductwork

Baseboard heaters, both electric and hydronic, don’t require ductwork. This is better if you want to cut the cost of installing ductwork in your home. You can also avoid the extra cost of duct cleaning each year.

Forced air systems pros

1. Energy efficiency

Some heating systems take longer to heat your home due to their design. With forced air systems, faster heating is possible.

One pro of forced air systems is energy efficiency, as this heating system takes a shorter time to warm up your house. Here’s a quick tip: the faster it heats your home, the more energy efficient the forced air system is.

2. Better indoor air quality

Forced air systems can also help improve your indoor air quality because these systems often include air filters. The air filters trap dust, dirt, and other contaminants, thus preventing them from entering your home. 

Filters must be changed regularly to achieve this benefit.  

3. Easy to install

An HVAC professional won’t take long to install a forced air system in your home. It’s even faster and easier if the required ductwork is already in place.

Baseboard heat vs forced air cons

Baseboard heaters cons

1. Not suitable for small spaces

Baseboard heaters do well when heating a large single room. But the same system isn’t as efficient for multiple small rooms.

2. Only good for heating

Forced air systems typically have a dual-purpose – heating in winter and cooling in summer. However, if you opt for baseboard heaters, you can only use them during the cold seasons. This means you will have to install a separate cooling system to cool your home during the summer.

Forced air cons

1. Requires ductwork

You must install ductwork if you want to use a forced air system in your home. Not only does that involve the extra cost of installing the ductwork, but you also have to pay for regular cleaning. When choosing a heating system, keep in mind any additional installation and maintenance charges.

2. Can be noisy

If you want a silent or less noisy heating system, it’s better not to install a forced air system. Air pushed through ductwork will make noise, and this can become even louder if you skip annual maintenance checkups.

Baseboard heating vs forced air systems – Which is best? 

If you are looking for even heat distribution for your home, we would suggest the baseboard heater. It’s harder to achieve the same effect with a forced air system.

However, if you have several small spaces and rooms to heat, then a forced air system is best. It also takes less time to install, so this can be a good option if it meets your preferences. 

Before making up your mind, consider all the pros and cons of both when comparing baseboard heaters vs forced air systems. 

Deciding between forced air vs baseboard heat? Let us help.  

If you need assistance choosing the best heating system for your home, consider getting a professional’s advice. A qualified technician will assess your needs and help you pick the best fit for your home. 

Contact us to get professional advice and an estimate today. 

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